Despite a long road, Gov. Greg Abbott officially signed the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act,’ which will extend protecting women’s sports from male competition to the collegiate level.

In 2021, lawmakers approved House Bill 25 by State Rep. Valoree Swanson (R–Spring), which banned public school students from competing in an interscholastic athletic competition “designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex.”

Senate Bill 15 by State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R–Galveston) extends HB 25 to include banning public universities and colleges from allowing men to compete against women.

“Today is an important day for female athletes across the state of Texas, including little girls who aspire to one day compete in college sports,” Abbott said while signing SB 15. “Sports have inspired many women to cast bold visions and dreams of what they want to achieve. The legacy of women’s sports will be safeguarded for generations to come. Women in Texas can be assured that the integrity of their sports will be protected in our state.”

In 2021, states like Idaho, Florida, and Arkansas approved legislation that bars biological men from competing in women’s sports at the collegiate level. 

However, while Abbott has now signed the bill, others in the State legislature have not always been eager to support this legislation.

During the 87th legislature’s third special session, Republican state legislators in both the House and Senate chose to only defend high school girls, despite there being legislation proposed that would have safeguarded both high school and college women’s sports. 

At the same time, Abbott wrote in a special session announcement that he only wanted “[women’s sports] legislation identical to Senate Bill 29 as passed by the Texas Senate in the 87th Legislature,” meaning protections that only applied to high school girls.

In May 2023, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi called out the Texas House in an advertisement, telling concerned citizens to call Speaker Dade Phelan and tell him to pass conservative legislation like protecting women’s sports and banning DEI in public universities and colleges.

The bill will take effect September 1, 2023.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.